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Maine Fishermen's Forum Recap: 2023 Award Winners

DMR Commissioner Pat Keliher, left, and Jimmy Wotton. DMR photo.

Jimmy Wotton of Friendship received the Department of Marine Resources’ (DMR) Andy Mays Award of Excellence. The award is named for Southwest Harbor fisherman Andy Mays, who passed away in 2017, but who left an important legacy of participation in the management and regulatory process. DMR Commission Patrick Keliher made the presentation to Wotton.

“This award is being presented in recognition of your expertise across numerous fisheries and your willingness to engage the department in a constructive way that contributes to the prosperity of all Maine fishermen,” said Keliher.

Wotton currently serves as vice-chair of the Zone D Lobster Council and as a member of the Scallop Advisory Council. He has held licenses in multiple fisheries including lobster, scallop, urchin, menhaden, river herring, and halibut. “Jimmy his broad base of knowledge with our advisory councils and through his collaboration with the department. That kind of strong working relationship is vital for the sustainability of our commercial fisheries,” said Keliher.

 

Marine Patrol Specialist Evan Whidden, who serves in the DMR’s Marine Patrol Section 2 (Freeport to Bremen), received the 2023 Maine Lobstermen’s Association Marine Patrol Officer of the Year Award at the Forum. The award is an annual recognition of a Marine Patrol Officer who provided outstanding service in support of the Maine lobster industry.

Whidden grew up in a fishing family and worked as a commercial lobsterman. He joined Marine Patrol in 2020 and is stationed in Boothbay Harbor serving as captain of the P/V Endeavor. In 2022, he spent a remarkable 945 hours underway, hauling an impressive 11,921 traps, the most in Maine. He inspected the lobster traps of 351 fishermen, which culminated in over 60 violations. “Evan’s experience growing up in a fishing family and working as a lobstermen gives him a unique perspective and makes him a great asset to Marine Patrol,” said MLA president Kristan Porter. “There is no doubt that his leadership and self-motivation has ensured a fair fishery for all lobstermen.”

From left, MP Colonel Matt Talbot, MPO Evan Whidden, Commissioner Keliher. DMR photo.

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